April 19, 2014

Worker input crucial to reducing rail risks

If a congressionally ordered railroad risk reduction program is to be effective, the Federal Railroad Administration must include railroad employees and their labor unions in the process of evaluating and managing the program. That is the message seven rail labor organizations sent to the FRA Feb. 8 in response to an earlier FRA notice of [...]

Senate Commerce Committee members

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and Republicans have finalized appointments to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Most transportation legislation moving through the Senate affecting air, bus and rail safety and economic regulation is under the initial jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.). Most transit legislation is the [...]

This is the season — for deadly yard accidents

It’s winter — the three months of the year during which a significant number of yard fatalities and career-ending injuries occur. The FRA says risk is concentrated in cold-weather states, but those in warmer climates are not immune, because darkness is a factor along with cold weather and slippery ground conditions that contribute to falls. [...]

Record profits, but UP opposes PTC costs

On the same day (Jan. 20) Union Pacific reported record fourth quarter and record calendar year 2010 profits, UP Chairman Jim Young said he is headed to Washington to meet with President Obama’s economic advisers to oppose a congressional mandate that railroads implement crash-avoidance positive train control by year-end 2015. UP told investors its 2010 [...]

We’ll keep pressing to improve, protect

James Stem; Stem, James

By James StemUTU National Legislative Director January brings a new session of Congress and the start of state legislative sessions across the country. Our UTU legislative team in Washington and our state legislative directors will be on guard protecting the interests of our members. Two old UTU friends are in charge of key transportation committees [...]

UTU working to improve Rail Safety Act

By James Stem, UTU National Legislative Director The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) was not all that rail labor wanted in a safety bill, but it was a good start, and contains much of what we have long sought. Work still needs to be done, including an end to limbo time, advance notice [...]

UTU to FRA: ‘Say no’ to Mexican safety checks

First it was Union Pacific wanting to have its trains inspected in Mexico. Now BNSF is making the same plea to the FRA — and as the UTU and other rail unions did in the case of UP — the FRA is being advised to, “just say no.” Putting safety first cannot co-exist with farming out [...]

PTC: What it is, how it works

Los Angeles Metrolink — a 512-mile commuter rail system, which serves the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura — is moving to be the first railroad to install and implement a positive train control (PTC) system. PTC is collision avoidance technology that monitors and controls train movements remotely, can [...]

Lawmakers change; our mission does not

James Stem

By James Stem,UTU National Legislative Director With the election over, change has come to Washington. Since 2001, the congressional political majority has shifted three times. New majorities are nothing new to our UTU legislative team. While most UTU-endorsed candidates were re-elected, we did lose friends with whom we had long and positive relationships. Thankfully, the [...]

UTU PAC: It’s about jobs, benefits, safety

UTU Michigan State Legislative Director Jerry Gibson knows the value of the UTU PAC in electing labor friendly lawmakers. He knows how to share those facts, also. UTU Local 1075 Secretary-Treasurer John Purcell says he and other members of his Trenton, Mich., local had “no clue of what the UTU PAC was. No one had [...]